Effron's Performer Division, provider of performance monitoring, reporting and portfolio-risk-analysis services, has selected Appilog's PathFinder suite of IT monitoring tools so that the effects of any disruptions in its underlying technology infrastructure can be clearly and quickly understood. Chris Black, data-center manager with Effron, which counts Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley among its clients, says that it's critical not to over- or under react to glitches in IT infrastructure. It is critical, he says, to understand what those glitches mean to customer-facing applications.
"Our night employees, for example, are not the most highly trained because they are temps. They don't know the difference between a server failing with little effect or one that causes an application to go down," he says. "When you are using the PathFinder console you can say, 'OK, If this is going to happen then this service will be unavailable.' So the effect becomes clear."
Financial institutions use Effron's Performer to analyze the risk of their portfolios relative to a market index or on an absolute basis. Performer can also quantify the value added by the ability of the money manager to select securities and time the market.
Appilog's PathFinder's is a business-service-management offering designed to map and manage IT assets according to the business activities that they support. The goal is to help professionals clearly and immediately understand the business impact of any fault in the IT infrastructure that compromises business operations and could result in lost revenue.
Effron's Black says that Appilog was selected after looking at similar products from Tivoli and HP. The difference, he says, is that Appilog's products are geared more towards "business-systems management, rather than host-based management." Specifically, "The most attractive aspects were the interfaces and the focus on the application rather than the servers." Effron uses 125 servers and 40 in disaster recovery.
Though Black says that Appilog was the product that best fit the needs of Effron, a pricetag of over $100,000 means that it was not the least expensive. "Initially, we were starting to lean away from a substantial investment in monitoring tools and we started looking at cheaper tools but then we thought better of it. You can spend $10,000 or $20,000 but you will get limited functionality."
Black adds, "Instead of getting to failures you use a monitoring tool as a preemptive strike when you see characteristics that might lead to failure you can schedule downtime to make sure crashes don't happen."